Speaker Date Topic
Top Chef’s Professional Journey Returns Him to Hayward’
Top Chef’s Professional Journey Returns Him to Hayward’

When Rodrigo Cedeno became executive chef at Hayward’s iconic Bijou Restaurant in April it was the end of a culinary journey that started with his graduation from Hayward High School. Graduating in the top 20% of his class at the prestigious Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona, Rodrigo went on to work with some of the most accomplished chefs on the West Coast. He honed his skills in modern cuisine and techniques in molecular gastronomy at Vu Restaurant in Marina del Rey, specialized in classical and modern French cuisine at RN74 in San Francisco, and was sous chef in the upscale restaurant at the exclusive Rolling Hills Country Club in San Pedro.

Rodrigo: “The direction of the menu at Bijou is something a little more modern, something that will provide each guest with an ‘affordable palate.’ We achieve this by offering new and unique flavor profiles with each dish and creating a regularly changing, seasonal menu.”


Marlene Bjornsrud’s career over the past 35 years has included leadership roles in several facets of the sports industry including a collegiate national championship tennis coach and an athletics administrator at Grand Canyon and Santa Clara Universities. She was the first General Manager of the San Jose CyberRays of the professional Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) and the team won the inaugural WUSA championship.

Marlene comes to The Alliance from the Bay Area Women’s Sport Initiative (BAWSI, pronounced “bossy”), a nonprofit organization founded in 2005 by Marlene and USA Olympic and World Cup stars Brandi Chastain and Julie Foudy.

The organization was founded on the belief that the full aspirations of women in sports are yet to be realized, and that the full benefits of sports in society cannot be achieved without women. BAWSI is an advocate for all social and policy issues that impact the lives of girls and women in sports.

BAWSI’s mission is to awaken the power of female athletes to be change makers in the world. BAWSI has engaged more than 8,000 women athletes in the fight against child obesity by having them inspire more than 16,000 BAWSI Girls in underserved communities in the Bay Area and more than a thousand children with disabilities, called BAWSI Rollers, to get moving and involved in fun, active play.

As CEO of BAWSI, Marlene had complete oversight for management of the organization, including fundraising, strategic planning and representing BAWSI to government agencies and within the community.

Marlene’s work in helping girls and women through sport was recognized by the International Olympic Committee with its prestigious 2013 Women and Sport Award for the continent of the Americas. The award recognizes a lifetime of work in the women’s sports community and specifically for her role as co-founder of the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative.


Hayward Rotary will honor the 2015 Outstanding Rotarian.  This is Hayward Rotary's most prestigious honor.  Find out all about the latest honoree.


Since 1939, San Francisco Opera Guild has supported the activities of San Francisco Opera through award-winning education programs that extend the impact of opera, bringing it center stage in the life of the community. The Guild offers a range of programs that reach more than 50,000 students in nearly 200 schools across the Bay Area annually, as well as programs for adults.  Andrew will speak about the scope and goals of these programs, including a brief interactive segment presented with the assistance of baritone Billy Lawley, a Guild teaching artist, related to the upcoming San Francisco Opera production of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro.

Andrew Berger is the Director of Education, San Francisco Opera Guild.  Andrew moved to the Bay Area from New York City in September 2013 to join San Francisco Opera Guild as Director of Education. In this capacity, he is responsible for planning and oversight of the Guild’s extensive education programs. With more than twenty years of experience in senior education positions at leading New York arts organizations, he was formerly Director of Education at Midori & Friends, where he was responsible for arts education programs in schools and community agencies in underserved communities across New York City. Prior to Midori & Friends, he was Director of Education at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Director of Education and Outreach at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts on Long Island. His experience in the performing arts field also includes positions with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Connecticut Grand Opera & Orchestra, and Lincoln Center Institute. Mr. Berger is also a singer, writer, and composer, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Harvard College and his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Long Island University.

Billy Lawley studied voice at Southern Methodist University before moving to the Bay Area in 2014. Billy was employed for five years as Elementary Music Instructor in the Dallas Independent School District, receiving accolades including Teacher of the Year for 2009-2010. In addition to teaching, Billy performed in musicals with numerous theaters in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. He began work with San Francisco Opera Guild as a teaching artist in 2014 and also teaches voice and piano privately.  Billy is a Board Certified Music Therapist and has experience using music to reach children and adults that have individualized health needs.


STAN DOBBS Jun 15, 2015

Come hear our own STAN "DATA" DOBBS, Superintendent of the Hayward Unified School District, talk about his vision for our schools. 


Congressman Eric Swalwell proudly represents California’s Fifteenth Congressional District, which includes a large portion of the East Bay. In January 2015, he was sworn in for his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives, continuing his work to bring new energy, ideas, and a problem-solving spirit to Congress and advance policies that will support equality, opportunity, and security.

Congressman Swalwell works diligently to protect Americans on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He serves as top Democrat on the Subcommittee on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) which is responsible for the oversight, policy, activities, and budget of the CIA. He also is on the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, where he addresses climate change and advocates for renewable energy.

Congressman Swalwell grew up and attended public schools in the East Bay. He was the first person in his family to go to college, having earned a Division I soccer scholarship.  During college he worked as an unpaid intern in the office of his representative, Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher. He was a Capitol Hill intern on September 11, 2001– a day that strengthened his commitment to public service and inspired his first legislative achievement: creating a public-private college scholarship program for students who lost parents in the attacks.

After earning undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Maryland, he returned to the East Bay to serve the cause of justice and protect victims as a prosecutor in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office for seven years. He also served as chairperson of the Dublin Heritage & Cultural Arts Commission, on the Dublin Planning Commission, and was elected to the Dublin City Council.

He is the oldest of four boys and son to Eric Sr., a retired police officer, and Vicky, who works as a secretar

Hayward Rotary Club - Established 1922
Mailing address: P.O. Box 629, Hayward CA 94543 USA
Meeting location: Masonic Hall, 1074 B Street, Hayward CA 94541 USA   |   Phone: (510) 632-0804
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